Officials in the city of Yazd are considering measures to help improve the ancient city’s international image.
A section of Yazd’s historical texture was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List last week, making Yazd Iran’s 22nd world heritage site and the country’s first UNESCO-listed city where people still live.
One of the measures is the launch of direct flights to Istanbul, Dubai and Tbilisi.
“We’ve had good talks with airline companies and expect to launch the routes soon,” Abbas Mohammadi, managing director of Yazd International Airport, was quoted as saying in a report on the website of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development.
“The city’s airport was given international status only two years ago, so there’s a lot of development to be done,” he added.
While launching flights to Dubai and Istanbul makes sense, since they’re both international air hubs, flying direct to Tbilisi only serves to boost outbound tourism as interest to visit Georgia among Iranians has been high ever since Tehran and Tbilisi abolished the visa regime in 2016, but this has not increased inbound travel.
Another measure, proposed by a city councilor, aims to turn the city’s UNESCO-listed area into a “free trade-tourism zone”.
“If the area is declared a free zone, it will help boost tourism and in a way is a response to the denizens of the city; an appreciation for their hard work in making Yazd’s inscription possible,” Vahidreza Khabbaz-Zadeh Yazdi was quoted.
He said upgrading the city’s infrastructure to a level befitting a world heritage site would cost approximately 6 trillion rials ($158 million).
Yazd is the world’s largest inhabited adobe city. It is home to UNESCO-listed ancient Persian qanats as well as Dolatabad Garden, which is one of the nine Iranian gardens inscribed collectively on the World Heritage List as “Persian Gardens”.
This city is known for its adobe architecture, Zoroastrian fire temples and tall structures known as badgirs, or wind-catchers, which in ancient times functioned as natural ventilators in large villas.